UI16 Spotlight: Kicking Off Projects Right with Kevin Hoffman

Jared Spool

July 26th, 2011

[We're butt-deep in preparations for the User Interface 16 Conference. For my part, I get to work closely with the amazing speakers we've assembled, helping them construct their full-day workshops. Here's the second part of my series introducing each of the UI16 experts.]

So much of a project’s success is determined at its start. If the team comes together and sets the stage properly, everything works out smoothly. People end up with a great vision and solid understanding of how the design should turn out.

Yet, a project that doesn’t get off to the right start will often struggle. The team will find themselves in conflict, important requirements often emerge too late, and good ideas get left on the cutting room floor. Unfortunately, in my work, I see too many projects that have gone down this road and find themselves trying hard to get back on track.

A few years back, I was lucky enough to see Kevin Hoffman present his workshop technique for kicking off projects. It was a completely different approach than any I’d seen before. He showed us how interactive exercises, brainstorming games, and collaborative sketching techniques surfaced important details about the project, while elliciting innovative ideas from everyone on the team.

Since then, he’s had the opportunity to refine his methods in his projects at Happy Cog, a leading web design firm. Happy Cog’s clients have been so impressed, they’ve asked him to teach them his techniques so they can kickoff their other projects successfully.

I’m really pleased that we can have Kevin as part of the User Interface 16 Conference program. As we’ve been working on the plans for his full-day workshop, I’ve gotten a glimpse of just how much fun this day will be. Kevin knows his stuff and has packed the day full of both solid theory and practical exercises. It’s almost criminal that something this fun is a critical work skill.

See the other UI16 Spotlights:

You can catch the sneak preview of UI16 at uiconf.com. (And there’s still a few of the sneak preview $1,349 registrations left. Snag one while they are still available.)

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